Biological Basis for CF-Related Diabetes Program

The intent of this request for applications is to solicit and fund projects that will improve our understanding of the biological basis for the development and progression of cystic fibrosis-related diabetes as well as to identify potential novel therapeutic strategies to manage and treat the disease. 

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Cystic fibrosis results from the dysfunction of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, which affects both bicarbonate and chloride transport and many different organ systems. Although most commonly described as a lung disease, CF also is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Cystic fibrosis–related diabetes (CFRD) affects up to 50% of adults with CF and is associated with significantly increased mortality. The mechanisms by which CFTR dysfunction contributes to diabetes remain poorly defined.

To better understand the biological underpinnings of CFRD, we are soliciting applications for basic research projects on the topic. Topics of interest to the CF Foundation include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Exocrine/endocrine interactions including:
    • Absent/altered acinar cell signaling 
    • Incretins and enteroinsular axis 
    • Impact of exocrine pancreatic disease on endocrine pancreas
  • Altered/remodeled innervation and vasculature that impact islet function
  • Relationships between islet cells, inflammation, vasculature, macrophages, adipose tissue and development of CFRD 
  • Cellular pathways for islet maintenance
  • Redox imbalance and inflammatory states that contribute to CFRD development and progression
  • CFTR-modulator reversible and non-reversible disease components:
    • Prevention, delayed development, halting progression, disease reversal
    • Knowledge and gaps regarding CFTR modulator impact on pancreatic disease across the lifespan
    • Impact of early modulator use on pancreatic function
    • Relative CFTR modulation across CFTR-expressing tissues that may contribute to CFRD 
  • Genes and pathways contributing to CFRD pathophysiology/pathogenesis including:
    • Genetic modifiers and tissues of expression
    • Potential to impact genetic modifier targets

Grant applications submitted through this request for applications (RFA) must focus on basic science research projects. Proposals that include methodologies requiring human subjects or sampling of materials from human subjects will be considered under this mechanism only if the sampling method constitutes minimal patient risk (e.g., venipuncture, nasal brushings) and the sample will be utilized in basic or laboratory research. Projects using previously obtained human samples or samples collected as part of routine clinical care may be allowed; however, this should be specified clearly in the application. All other projects involving human subjects, including interventional studies, will not be reviewed nor funded through this award mechanism and applicants should instead submit their proposals under the Clinical Research Award or Clinical Pilot and Feasibility Award mechanisms. Please refer to the policies and guidelines of each of these programs on their respective pages. 

The CF Foundation offers funding of up to $150,000 per year for up to three years. (Indirect costs up to 12% are allowable.) We intend to support 8-10 grants per funding cycle to expand our breadth and depth of research in this area. 

A second cycle of this RFA will be announced in 2023.

Policies and Guidelines

Please review the 2022 Policies and Guidelines for complete submission information.


Applications must be submitted online at by 5 p.m. ET on August 2, 2022.

For More Information

Those who are interested in any funding programs offered by the CF Foundation can get further information or discuss the potential relevance of their studies or research by contacting the Grants and Contracts Office at

Please Direct Inquiries to:

Grants and Contracts Office
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
4550 Montgomery Ave.
Suite 1100 N
Bethesda, MD 20814

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